Photo of Alan Lester

Alan Lester
Professor of Historical Geography (Geography)
T: +44 (0)1273 678473 or +44 (0)1273 877238


My research focuses on the British Empire in the ninetenth century. I am interested in the ways that Britons developed the projects of settler colonialism, humanitarianism and imperial governance through networks which spanned the empire (for example Imperial Networks: Creating Identities in Nineteenth Century South Africa and Britain, Routledge 2001 and Colonization and the Origins of Humanitarian Governance: Protecting Aborigines across the Nineteenth-Century British Empire, with Fae Dussart, Cambridge University Press, 2014). I am currently writing a book emerging from a Leverhulme Trust funded project  on how the empire was governed everywhere and all at once during certain key moments of the Victorian period:

My approach has been informed by an interest in the lives and activities of particular people who acted to connect various places within the British Empire (Colonial Lives Across the British Empire: Imperial Careering in the Long Nineteenth Century, Cambridge University Press, 2006), especially the governors George Arthur and George Grey. I am International Partner Investigator on the current, Australian Reseacrh Council funded, project, Inquiring into Empire: Remaking the British Empire after 1815, which focuses on the commissioners of inquiry sent to nineteen colonies during the first decades of the nineteenth century.

I have also researched the experience of Indigenous peoples undergoing settler colonialism (Indigenous Communities and Settler Colonialism: Land Holding, Loss and Survival in an Interconnected World, edited with Zoe Laidlaw, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). I was International Partner Investigator on the Australian Research Council funded Minutes of Evidence project, at the heart of which lies the performance of the play Coranderrk: We Will Show the Country: